BP threw a lifeline to Coryton yesterday, striking a deal that allowed the bankrupt oil refinery to buy a fresh cargo of crude that will keep it running for a few more days.
The Thames estuary refinery – which supplies a fifth of the petrol sold in London and the South-east – went bust last week as its Swiss parent, Petroplus, filed for insolvency.
Coryton was within hours of running out of the oil it needs to produce petrol, diesel and jet fuel when a financing agreement with BP allowed it to purchase an estimated 500,000 barrels of crude.
This will allow the refinery – which at full production processes about 175,000 barrels of crude a day – to run at half capacity for about six days while the administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers, works to arrange a full-scale rescue of the business.
It is in BP's interest for Coryton to stay afloat, since the refinery supplies about 180 of its forecourts.